As we’ve been adjusting into the new normal, companies are increasingly aware of changing up their marketing strategies. And one such change we’ll likely see is the increasing importance of building brand authority, especially when everyone is crammed into the crowded digital space.
How does brand authority differ from brand positioning? In short: brand positioning is what sets you apart from the competition—but brand authority is what raises you above the competition.
With brand authority, you’re seen as a trusted and reliable entity. Your brand is the expert; the go-to in your industry.
If you think about it, building brand authority can be a powerful marketing strategy when so many businesses find themselves struggling to stand out, especially as everyone is forced into limited platforms that came with social distancing, new consumer habits, and lingering concerns and hesitation from the public.
When you’re seen as the brand authority in your industry, it’s easier to make that sale and get less resistance. People will think, “This brand knows exactly what I need in my business,” which makes it easier for them to want to work with you.
Wondering how you can boost your brand’s authority in the new normal? Look no further than these 10 strategies designed to help your brand rise above the competition when it comes to online brand management.
- Stay Clear and Consistent with Your Messaging
- Focus on Building Relationships
- Provide Top-Notch Customer User Experience
- Publish More Educational Content on Your Blog
- Collaborate with Influencers in Your Industry
- Turn Your Employees into Your Brand Ambassadors
- Guest Post on Reputable Publications in Your Industry
- Monitor Your Brand Reputation on Social Media
- Engage with Your Customers With Live Videos
- Be a Genuine Advocate
- Key Takeaways
Stay Clear and Consistent with Your Messaging
The new normal has forced many businesses to pivot. While pivoting has been necessary for most marketers and businesses, that doesn’t necessarily mean losing your brand’s essence and messaging.
Stay consistent with your brand message and promise. Your tone, personality, visuals, and more all contribute to helping customers understand your brand and remember you. A 2019 study by Lucidpress even found that consistency in branding has helped increase revenue by 33%.
Follow this checklist to make sure you can stay clear and consistent with your own brand messaging:
Create a branding guidebook
Your branding guidebook is a comprehensive database about your brand: your official colors, logos, personality, fonts, image styles, and more. It includes important instructions and information anyone from your marketing team to your press partners ought to know about your brand assets.Here’s an example of a brand guidebook by Spotify. Anyone can easily refer to this document when creating branded assets for the streaming company.
Keep your assets organized
It’s easier to stay consistent with your messaging and branding when you keep all your assets organized and easy to sort. Consider using an asset management tool to help you sort your content in one space that is shared across your team.
Streamline your approval process
Make it a habit within your company to have an organized flow for approving new visuals or marketing content. So when assets go from your creative team or agency and published to your social media or website, you’re sure nothing falls through the cracks.
You can create a simple approval process that includes your creatives and marketing managers, while making sure communication is horizontal and not overly bureaucratic, where it’s easy for everyone to share thoughts and ideas about brand materials.
Focus on Building Relationships
Relationship-building is a powerful way to boost your brand authority. Especially in the new normal where making sales can be slower for most businesses, when you maintain great relationships with clients and prospects, you can cement their business in the future when things have returned to somewhat normal.
Part of building relationships with your customers is listening to what they say about your business or the solutions they’re looking for. Conducting market research or social listening can be an effective way to do just that.
Tune into customers’ good experiences and even negative ones. You can then make steps to repair any negative experiences or find ways to sustain the good ones. Oracle’s LinkedIn strategy is an example of a brand that knows how to focus on building better relationships with followers and prospects. It uses the platform as a space to share relevant news and information, and the page has amassed over 6.4 million followers because of it.
Provide Top-Notch Customer User Experience
User experience can make or break what people think about your brand. It’s hard to boost brand authority when your users don’t appreciate what it’s like using your products or benefitting from your service.
A recent example of how important user experience is for building your brand’s authority is when digital note-taking and workspace tool Notion experienced a DNS issue that left users unable to access their databases, notes, and files within the cloud-based app for some amount of time.
Because of this, users were largely inconvenienced—some even contemplated leaving the app if it wouldn’t prioritize an offline mode or performance boost that would make issues like this less of a hassle. Of course, user experience is also in the details. Issues like customer data protection are big elements of user experience that brands cannot ignore, especially in the digital era. Data breaches reflect poorly on brands, and may even lose customers’ trust. So if you want to boost your brand’s authority, make sure every part of your user experience is geared to be as positive as possible.
Publish More Educational Content on Your Blog
If you really want to be seen as a brand authority, you can’t go wrong with a solid content marketing strategy. When customers are turning to free resources like blogs and videos for information, the brand that can give them as much educational content is likely to be seen as the expert.
Not sure where to get started with your blogging strategy? Here’s a quick overview.
Look at what your customers are searching for
Check which topics are popular in your niche, and then try to outdo the competition with a better blog post. You can easily do this by including either more updated sources or data, including better examples or tips, or creating a blog post that answers more of your customers’ questions.
Focus on creating pillar content
Pillar content are longform blog posts that cover a certain topic comprehensively. These not only come with great SEO benefits, but they also improve people’s perception of your brand. When you can cover a topic with more detail all in one post, customers will see that you’re the expert in the industry and that you know what you’re talking about.
As an added bonus, ask yourself if your blog posts pass the Share test. Would customers share your blog post because of how much value they got from it?
Collaborate with Influencers in Your Industry
Next, one way to instantly boost your brand authority is by working with the right influencers in your industry.
According to The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report by Influencer Marketing Hub, 91% of companies have reported positive experiences using this strategy, citing it to be effective.
This finding isn’t a far cry from a report published the previous year by SocialPubli, which says influencer marketing was ranked by over one-third of surveyed marketers as the single best channel for ROI, where their influencer-involved campaigns led to the most returns out of any other platform.
Of course, for your influencer campaign to be effective and profitable, it needs to be strategic. And one of the most important ways to keep your campaign strategic is by partnering with the right influencers.
The right influencer will always depend on your particular line of business: for example, having a marketing expert as a partner influencer for your marketing agency, or a renowned sales coach for your sales-related software.
The right influencers have reach of their own, but more importantly, they are also seen as authorities in their niche. You can probably find prospective influencers on your own, but you might also consider platforms like Brybe Influencer and Creator Marketplace that help you connect to influencers in your niche that have a genuine engaged following.
Turn Your Employees into Your Brand Ambassadors
When it comes to getting ambassadors to champion your brand and boost your authority, there may be a group of people more fit for the role than even your paid influencers—your employees.
Dynamic Business reports that in the new economy, “[T]here may be a downturn in customer spending, [but] there is an increase in customer touchpoints and attention.” This means that consumers and companies might be spending less, but they will spend again, especially when things return to how they were pre-COVID-19.
However, the other side of being indoors and working from home a majority of the time means consumers are now engaging with brands more, across multiple touchpoints. And in order to truly reach consumers at every touchpoint, you need real faces that will advocate for your brand.
Majority of social media users, for instance, trust posts made by actual people and creators over branded content. They value authenticity, and it’s simply easier to trust content created by real people than a faceless brand.
So why not put faces to your brand? Employees becoming brand ambassadors can provide customers and prospects an inside look at your company. It humanizes your brand and can convey trustworthiness to customers.
You can turn employees into brand ambassadors by putting up a program that incentivizes and encourages them to share news about your new offers and promotions. It can even be simple guidelines employees follow, such as how Starbucks encourages their partners to connect and engage online.
Guest Post on Reputable Publications in Your Industry
One simple way to boost your brand authority is by getting published on a major publication in your niche. When customers and prospects see that trusted and authoritative sites give you their platform to share your expertise, they’re more likely to believe you’re an authority as well.
There are some added bonuses to guest posting as well, including better search engine results, backlinks, and traffic.
Aim to get your guest blogs published on major sites, but if this is a new strategy for you, don’t be afraid to start with low-hanging fruit.Check publications for their guest contributor guidelines so you know what type of posts they accept. The most important part about guest blogging is writing a high-value post over being salesy. Don’t promote your product or service—in fact, you may not even need to mention it, unless you wanted to use your brand as a case study.
Monitor Your Brand Reputation on Social Media
When you’re on the road to building your brand authority, it’s helpful to know how your efforts are performing.
Commit to monitoring your brand’s reputation online by conducting social listening. When you do this, you’re tracking what people are saying about your brand in their own words and in the most organic way possible; no formal interviews or focus groups needed.
By staying on top of your brand reputation, you can be an active participant in the conversation about your company or even your industry at large.
Tips for managing your brand reputation on social media
It’s worth looking into a social listening tool like Mention to help you track conversations about your brand and even chosen keywords in your industry in real time. With a dedicated tool, you can set up filters and rules that can broaden your scope more than a simple social media feed might.
If you find positive brand mentions, be prompt to say thank you and celebrate with customers. If what you find is not-so positive, consider this an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one by providing immediate repair and action.
Of course, you can also monitor what influencers in your niche are talking about, so you can jump in with brand authority-boosting sentiments or insights that build relationships with these influencers.
Engage with Your Customers With Live Videos
In 2020, Facebook reported that 1 in 5 of videos published on their platform were Live videos, while daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew by 4x in just a course of a year.
You may notice that many platforms have followed suit. Instagram lets users go Live using Instagram Stories. YouTube lets its creators stream right from their channels. And dedicated live streaming platforms like Twitch are seeing rapid growth only spurred by the global pandemic. While Twitch is best known for live-streaming games, it’s also well optimized for live discussions, shared experiences and even political interviews.
Other than its popularity, live videos can be a powerful way to build brand authority because of the way it lets you connect to customers on a deeper level. Consider doing live videos for webinars and masterclasses to educate customers and potential clients, or commit to doing live Q&A sessions that pack a punch.
Schedule enough time in advance for your users to know that you plan on going live, and provide regular reminders and updates. To get them engaged right from the beginning, encourage them to leave questions and expectations via a survey form—the results of which you can use to inform the content of your Live session.
Be a Genuine Advocate
Finally, it’s important to be a genuine advocate for your customers and your industry. Consumers trust brands that stand up for what’s right, both for them as customers and for the greater good.
An Edelman report states that more than half of surveyed consumers believe that brands should have at least one social issue that they actively and genuinely campaign for, but only 21% of these consumers can confidently say that the brands they advocate keep society’s best interest in mind.
It’s no longer enough to simply do good; brands must now be good, and this desire ought to come from a genuine place and not just as an attempt to score more goodness points in the eyes of stakeholders.
Advocating for needs in your industry and in the world can seem like a big commitment. However, the best place to start is by going back to your mission. What is the positive outcome your brand wishes to make in the lives of your customers? Then take one step back and ask: how can you do that beyond simply your offers and transactions?
This step will likely take the most time and care to perfect, but trust that it will be worth it in the eyes of your customers that are increasingly expecting more from their chosen brands.
Building your brand’s authority in the new normal can seem like an uphill climb, as even one year later, businesses are still trying to get through the negative repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are several strategies and tactics you can try to do just that without sacrificing your brand’s integrity.
Use the tips above to help you create the roadmap that will get your brand authority soaring in your niche, and be sure to sign up for Mention in order to track your results and progress.